‘Same storm, different boat’ is how Catherine Davies, Professor of Linguistics at Leeds University at the recent CCWW workshop ‘Covid and the Woman Writer’ summed up the widely different impact of the lockdown on men and women. This finding was highlighted by journalist and author Sonka Hecker in an article on the workshop published in the Berliner Zeitung on 15 May 2021.
Whilst the number of publications by male academics remained constant (and in some fields of research even rose by 14%), the corresponding figure for female academics fell by as much as 20% between 2019 and 2020. Similar statistics were recorded for research and funding applications. This can be accounted for by the fact that the burden of providing full-time for the family as well as home schooling during lockdown fell squarely on women, leaving them with little or no time to pursue their profession – a disadvantage that will continue to be felt for years to come, unless employers take this into account when evaluating job applications and promotions.
The impact on authors, as outlined by Daria Kozhanova from Bologna University, appears different. In Italy, for example, where authors have come together on internet fora and given readings online, their visibility has markedly increased. A further example of this phenomenon is the work of the Arts Collective PartSuspended, which contributed a presentation to the workshop. After the initial shock and writer’s block, most women authors resumed their writing, seeing it as creating a chronicle or time capsule for future generations.